What should a CEO do if woke employees are pressuring him to do something or other that he views as incorrect, particularly if those employees are woke and useless or worse than useless thanks to their wokeness?
Telling them to pound sand is what pretty much every CEO wants to do, though few have the courage necessary for such a bold course of action, particularly in the tech space, where most CEOs are woke or always willing to bow to the wokies.
But, surprisingly and encouragingly, it’s exactly what Jesse Powell, the CEO and founder of cryptocurrency exchange Kraken did.
Speaking to Fox Business about his decision and what his business would be doing moving forward as it attempted to handle its employees, Powell said that any “woke” Kraken employees “will be managed out the hard way” because he doesn’t “tolerate that kind of behavior.” Those wokies who left voluntarily will receive a generous severance deal: four months pay.
Powell noted that only about 30 employees out of 3,000 took the deal and that his decision to tell them to leave or face being “managed out the hard way” was cheered by the vast majority of the employees. Speaking on that, he said that “There was a huge amount of support for this move, a huge amount of support for the company’s culture and mission and the reinforcement of those.”
The Daily Beast, reporting on the situation that sparked Powell’s crackdown on wokeness, notes that:
Powell recently sparked an internal culture war at Kraken when he published a 31-page manifesto detailing the company’s “libertarian philosophical values” and devotion to “diversity of thought.” He has also challenged and questioned employees’ use of preferred pronouns, debated over “who can refer to another person as the N-word,” and said questions about female intelligence compared to men’s were “not as settled as one might have initially thought.”
Despite the crypto market going through a severe downturn, with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies having lost significant value, Powell has insisted that Kraken will continue to hire. “Krakenites,” he claims, can request or deny “personal language and communication preferences of each other,” give each other “the benefit of the doubt,” and will never “call someone’s words toxic, hateful, racist, x-phobic, unhelpful, etc.”
At the same time, though, he has actively sought to push out employees who he says are a “bad fit” with the company’s ethos. In a recent Twitter thread, Powell highlighted “20 people” who “sap the productivity out of another 400” because they’re “triggered” by “first world problems” such as pronoun use and “whether differences in human sex exist at all.”
Powell also fired off a company-wide email in which he outlined the company’s perspective and said:
“We will never ask that our employees adopt any specific political ideology as a requirement for our workplace.
“That said, we ask that our employees respect the individual rights, privacy, and freedoms of others. Crypto is a freedom movement, and Kraken will remain a freedom company.”
So this CEO is awesome. He’s just the sort of person we all imagined running tech companies, particularly before Trump, back when Silicon Valley cultivated the libertarian reputation for which it’s still somewhat known.
But, unlike the others, Powell is actually living up to that reputation and defending libertarian values. What’s more, he’s giving employees that attack those values the boot rather than the light of day. Unfathomably based.